The “Principles of War” (blogged on last week) provoked some thoughts on church planting. The first principle mentioned was Selection and Maintenance of Aim. How appropriate when one of the first things we do in the church planting process is choose the site where the new church will be started.
There are several variables that determine site selection: how “churched” is the area, how well does the area “fit” the planter, how receptive is the community to a new church?
The first variable is answered by an equation: A – (B x 250) = C. “A” is the population of the area, “B” is the number of churches in the area multiplied by double the average attendance of Protestant Churches in America. The sum “C” is the number of people who could not attend a local church due to lack of room. (In Bensenville / Elmhurst there are 40 churches and a population of 71,000, leaving 61,000 unable to get into a church. The area is definitely underchurched!)
We determined the fit for the planter and receptivity of the area by spending time in the towns around O’Hare Airport with the planter and his wife who had gone through assessment (Sam and Angela Barnhart). During this time, we talked to people in the towns about the spiritual climate and prayed for wisdom and guidance. After additional time of thought and prayer, we all agreed that Bensenville felt like it “fit” best for Sam and Angela.
The first “Principle of War” helps hone the aim of the army on the march. We want to do the same and will be starting a cluster of 3 churches around O’Hare during the next 5 years. This cluster will then multiply more churches. More on this later.